Goalies step up as rivals tie

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LEWISTON — Neither Willie Emerson nor Alex Lafreniere started Saturday night’s game as the bona fide No. 1 goaltender for their respective teams.

The way each played in Saturday night’s third period and overtime session, the coaching staffs at Lewiston and St. Dom’s will likely have to give each careful consideration as the high school hockey season nears its final month.

Saints’ keeper Emerson stopped all six shots he faced in overtime — including a breakaway by Lewiston’s Jon Roy – and the Blue Devils’ Lafreniere matched him with five of his own — he, too, stopping a breakaway — as rivals Lewiston and St. Dom’s skated to a 3-3 deadlock at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“Both goalies really played an outstanding game,” Lewiston coach Norm Gagne said. “Neither goalie wanted to be denied tonight.”

Each team had a chance to put the game away in overtime via the breakaway.

Casey Parker took a pass off the boards up the right side and broke in alone on Lafreniere. He reached the net, put on the breaks and tried to slide the puck over the line.

“I like to use that move,” Parker said. “He got his glove over at the last second to stop it.”

“I thought he had me beat,” admitted Lafreniere. “I reached back with my glove and stopped it, and then my defensmen came over and cleared the rest of the players out of the way. that was big, too.”

Later, Jonathan Roy hurdled a fallen St. Dom’s defender and bore down on Emerson.

“I think I got a piece of it to push it wide,” Emerson said.

Roy did loft the puck, trying to go short side, inside the right post, but Emerson knocked it to the corner with his catching glove.

“Casey could have put it away, and then (Roy) could have put it away the other way,” St. Dom’s coach John Pleau said. “Both goalies made big saves. Big-time goalies make big-time saves in big games like this.”

Lewiston led 3-1 late in the third period and like so many other games this season nearly let a late lead disappear.

“It was big for us to hang onto this one,” Lafreniere said.

“It was great to see tonight the kids decide that this was the night we’re going to start to make a run,” Gagne said. “You could feel it in the locker room before the game, the atmosphere was different.”

But, the Saints started to chip away. Twenty-one seconds after Roy scored to make it 3-1, Parker scored his second of the night to cut the lead to 3-2.

D.J. Morin then snaked a slapper through traffic at 11:18 to knot the score, forcing overtime.

“It was a very evenly-played game,” Pleau said. “I thought we played a terrible first period, the worst we’ve played all year, but we bounced back well in the third and played well.”

Lewiston started the scoring in the first.

Ian Doucette picked off a poor clearing attempt at the St. Dom’s blue line and drifted into the middle of the slot. Challanged by the last defender back, Doucette snuck a slow wrister along the ice toward Emerson, who didn’t pick it up in time. The puck glided through his pads and into the net to put the Blue Devils ahead 1-0.

Robbie Leeman made it 2-0 at 13:30 on a rebound to Emerson’s right. Leeman perched himself at the left post as a shot from Doucette bounced off of a sliding Emerson and he lobbed the puck over the outstretched goalie’s right pad.

In the second, the Saints crawled to within one on a goal similar to Leeman’s. This time, it was Parker camped out next to the Lewiston net. Freshman Jacob Rutt fired the puck from the left point. Lafreniere made the initial stop, but the pack sat up for Parker, who lofted into the netting.

jpelletier@sunjournal.com

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